Rey's mother should not be a character in Star Wars: Episode IX. As J.J. Abrams gears up to begin production on the sequel trilogy finale, the film saw its biggest bit of news yet as Keri Russell joined the cast. She is reportedly one of three new additions to the franchise, but in typical Lucasfilm fashion, the details stop there. Russell's character is being kept under a veil of secrecy for the time being, which of course means fan theories are out in full effect. And there's one in particular that's starting to gain traction.
Because Russell is the latest brunette to join the Star Wars franchise, many viewers were quick to speculate that perhaps she's portraying Rey's mother. Even after The Last Jedi seemingly answered the questions about Rey's parentage and fans did this dance with Felicity Jones and Emilia Clarke, audiences can't seem to let this story thread go. As fun as it is to hypothesize, "X is Rey's mom" has become tired, and this no longer has a place in the Skywalker saga.
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If Star Wars 9 were to go this route, it would completely undermine the primary themes of The Last Jedi and Rey's character arc. The entire point behind her heritage is that a hero can come from anywhere, even if she was born to two drunks. Rey's parents are so insignificant to the larger story, Rian Johnson opted to not give them names. Casting a Golden Globe-winning, Emmy-nominated actress in the role of Rey's mom would contradict that and make the character important. Plus, over the course of her journey in The Last Jedi, Rey learns to let go of her obsession of learning where she comes from and forges her own path, finding a sense of belonging (and family) with the Resistance. For all intents and purposes, she has moved on and should face new challenges in Episode IX.
Some felt Abrams (he of the infamous mystery box) was planting the seeds to some major reveal in Episode VII, but a case can be made he never envisioned Rey's parents as people of great importance. In a key moment of The Force Awakens, Maz Kanata flat out tells Rey her parents are never coming back to Jakku (we eventually learn they're dead in a paupers grave) and that she needs to look ahead to fulfill her destiny. It would be strange for Abrams to backtrack and include Rey's mom in Episode IX, even if it was just for a flashback sequence (which wouldn't really work anyway, as nobody - even Rey - could narrate it). A lot of people were upset Rey's parents didn't turn out to be people of importance, but Abrams has already gone on record to say Last Jedi backlash won't influence his creative decisions on the next film. He isn't going to retcon something that's been so interwoven in the trilogy already.
Simply put, Episode IX has greater needs in regards to storytelling than giving Rey's mom a face. The First Order and Resistance both suffered losses in Last Jedi and could use reinforcements. In the case of the rebels, they can all fit inside the Millennium Falcon, so they definitely need extra hands. If Abrams is landing an actress of Russell's caliber and profile (she's come a long way since her bit part in Abrams' Mission: Impossible III), it's likely for a lead or key supporting role that factors heavily into the plot. Perhaps one day the tale of Rey's parents will be told, but it'll have to be in a different medium. Episode IX is not the time nor the place to explore this further. Rey is on her path to becoming a Jedi, and her future will be the focus.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019